WALK BY MOONLIGHT
It's the night before his final exams and Jimmy can't sleep. Knowing how much his partner loves the moon, Tim suggests they go for a walk.
An established relationship story.
Written: March 2012. Word count: 1,555.
Jimmy had been very quiet during dinner and as they washed up and he hadn't been able to settle down to watch the movie he'd selected. He kept jumping up and muttering something about having to check a book or just wandering around the room or making pots of tea he then didn't want to drink. Tim had even caught him muttering to himself a few times and making complicated gestures with his fingers.
Tim knew exactly what the problem was; what he didn't know was how to go about alleviating it. He knew he couldn't make it go away, but he had hoped he could have thought of a way to lessen Jimmy's stress. However, thus far anything he'd tried had only seemed to work for a short time.
"I'm sorry, Tim," Jimmy said, gently shaking Tim's arm off and standing up again. "I know I'm bad company tonight."
"It's okay, Jimmy," Tim said. "And you're never bad company."
Jimmy smiled. "Just frustrating at times?" He laughed.
Tim laughed too. "Well, I guess I am too when I get obsessive about my book."
Jimmy's laughter increased and then he said, in what was an excellent approximation of Gibbs's voice, "You think, McGee?"
Tim laughed more. "You've been practicing," he said. "Hey, I know, you should do that at the next Christmas party." Jimmy looked askance and Tim just laughed even more. He hadn't been serious and he knew Jimmy knew he hadn't been. His lover was still too in awe of Gibbs and too nice a person to do such a thing.
He caught Jimmy's hand and held it. "It'll be okay, Jimmy," he said, his tone serious now. "I know it will be. You've worked so hard, done so much revision and you know your subject. It will be fine."
Jimmy sighed and let Tim pull him back down onto the couch. "I hope so, Tim. I really do. I do know one thing, I couldn't have worked any harder. I couldn't have revised more. I just hope it's enough. I just don't want to . . ."
"Let anyone down?" Tim asked quietly. Jimmy nodded. "You won't, Jimmy. You won't let anyone down."
"But what if I mess up? What if I panic? What if everything is something I haven't revised hard enough? What if I fail?"
Tim tightened his grip on Jimmy's hand. "If," he said firmly. "If and it's a big 'if', Jimmy. If you don't pass, you can always resit the exams - you know you can."
Jimmy sighed. "I know. But I don't want to let you down, Tim."
Tim sighed. "Jimmy, whatever you do, you will never let me down. Never, do you hear me?"
Jimmy gave a half-nod. "But what if I let Dr. Mallard down?" he asked softly.
And that, Tim knew, was Jimmy's main concern. "Jimmy, Ducky knows how tough these exams can be. Ducky will not think any less of you if something goes wrong. The only thing that will matter to Ducky is that you do your best. And you've already done that, haven't you?"
"I guess. But it's not as simple as say you or Tony failing your weapons renewal certificate, is it? You know why."
"Yeah, Jimmy, I know." Tim was one of four people who knew that it had been Ducky who had funded Jimmy's time at medical school. The other person (apart from Ducky and Jimmy) who knew was Gibbs. Tim knew that Jimmy had asked Ducky, once his relationship with Tim had become serious, if he could tell him, and Ducky had given his permission. But other than the four of them, no one else (not even Jimmy's mom) knew.
If anyone wondered quite how they could afford the apartment they rented, no one asked. Tim guessed if anyone did question it at all that they thought it was his writing that paid for it. But with Jimmy not having to pay out for medical school, apart from the hefty deposit, they hadn't needed to touch any of the money Tim earned from his books.
"If I fail after all Dr. Mallard has done for me - Oh, Tim, I don't think I'd be able to face him every again."
"You will not fail, Jimmy," Tim said and lightly kissed Jimmy on the forehead. "How about we go to bed now and read for a bit, see if that relaxes you? And no, I don't mean read one of your text books. Ducky told you himself here is only so much revision you can do and that last second revision is not the best kind, didn't he?"
Jimmy nodded. "Okay, let's try that."
Tim woke up and glanced at the clock on his night-stand, it was still relatively early, an hour and a half before midnight, and the bed was empty. They had read for a bit and then Jimmy had said he was tired, so they'd turned off the lights, lay down and kissed goodnight. Now it looked as if it had only been Tim who had fallen asleep.
As his eyes adjusted to the darkness he made out Jimmy's tall, slim figure standing by the window staring out into the night. The gap in the curtains allowed the moon to filter though into the room and it gave Tim an idea. He switched his bedside lamp on, got out of bed and went to the closet.
Jimmy turned around. "Oh, Tim, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you up."
Tim shook his head as he took off his pajama bottoms and pulled on a pair of shorts and jogging pants. "You didn't," he said, pulling a tee-shirt and sweater over his head.
"What are you doing?" Jimmy asked.
"Getting dressed." Tim sat down and pulled on a pair of socks and shoes.
Jimmy blinked his surprise was clear. "I didn't miss a call from Agent Gibbs, did I?"
Tim shook his head. "No. Come on, Jimmy, get dressed. We're going for a walk in the moonlight."
Jimmy stared at him. "But it's -"
"Only ten thirty. It's not so late you'll be tired tomorrow, but late enough so we'll have the park pretty much to ourselves. Come on, Jimmy, it's what you need."
Jimmy stared at him for another moment or two, before smiling and hurrying across the room to attire himself in clothing similar to Tim's. They both put coats on and dropped their cell phones into their pockets. Jimmy put his glasses on, and at the last second Tim grabbed his Sig and badge. He just didn't feel dressed without the items.
Their apartment was quite near to a small, but lovely park and as Tim had predicted it was pretty much deserted. Once they were inside, Tim took Jimmy's hand and linked his fingers with Jimmy's. He felt Jimmy start a little and look around them, but Tim just kept his grip tight, but not painful and carried on walking. What was wrong with holding hands? Nothing.
They walked in silence, with only the moonlight to show them the way. As they walked along, Tim felt Jimmy relax and knew it wasn't just that he was okay about holding hands, but also that just being outside in the moonlight, something Jimmy loved, was having just the effect Tim had hoped it would have. He heard Jimmy's breathing, which had been somewhat fast and labored during the evening, begin to slow and when he moved his fingers slightly, he felt Jimmy's pulse rate also become steadier.
He guided Jimmy off the main path and along a smaller path that was heavily lined with trees. There was still enough moonlight to just about see where they were going and now Tim let go off Jimmy's hand and instead put his arm around Jimmy's shoulders. After a moment or two, Jimmy put his arm around Tim's waist and they continued to walk along, happy to be in one another's company.
They reached a small pond that shimmered and glinted in the moonlight and Jimmy stopped to stare at it. "It's beautiful," he said quietly turning to Tim. "Thank you, Tim."
Tim put his hands either side of Jimmy's face, leaned forward and gently kissed Jimmy's lips. "Sssh," he said, when Jimmy tensed. "No one else is here, Jimmy. No one will see us. And so what if they do? I'm only kissing you."
After a moment Jimmy relaxed and put his arms around Tim. The kiss was gentle, sweet, it was about showing Jimmy how much Tim loved him, about reassuring him, about letting him know whatever happened, he wouldn't be letting anyone down.
After a short time Tim took his mouth from Jimmy's. "Are you feeling better?" he asked.
Jimmy smiled and by the light of the moon Tim could see all the signs of stress and anxiety that surrounded Jimmy for several weeks had evaporated. Taking Jimmy's hand once again, Tim turned around and hand-in-hand they headed back through the park to their apartment where Jimmy fell asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow.
Tim lightly kissed his forehead and pulled the covers up a little more, before turning off his bedside lamp and settling down to sleep. He just knew everything was going to be all right.
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